Dawa Steven Sherpa formed a non-profit organization “iDEAS : Initiatives for Development and Eco Action Support” to work as an interface and facilitator between those who need support, and those who are willing to support and have the resources - financial, technical, and the experience to put into action various programs that would develop skills that would be income generating.
While all of us have an inherent capacity to solve our own problems, most of us lack the resources to do so.
The iDEAS team wants to find support for projects that are environmentally beneficial, generate income, impart education, and are sustainable and culturally sensitive. iDEAS intends to fine tune and help kick-start projects conceived by the recipients themselves. Any program that is force-fed will not last nor will it be practical or appreciated. The programs would be initiated at the local level, it would be implemented by the local people, and they would eventually own the program and run it on their own.
iDEAS will initially work in the Everest region and eventually expand to other areas in the Himalaya. Intial focus will be in Dawa Steven's home village in the Everest region, Khumjung. He knows the area, he knows his people. They have the basic infrastructure to make a difference- and most important - the people are always ready and willing to work hard.
The Sherpas are an honest and resilient people famous for their climbing skills. Few realize that until the late 1950's the Sherpas were mainly traders. They only began climbing when the British approached them in their quest to conquer Everest. Today many of them climb to give opportunities to their children that they themselves didn’t have. For most, putting their lives at risk on the mountains is a sacrifice to give their families a better life.
The Khumbu region, over the past years, has seen a brain drain as the young people continue to move to the cities for education and work. Many would prefer to stay in their home villages. But lack of jobs and opportunities have forced them to leave. Helping them in skills development and in setting up income generating projects will encourage them to stay on in their home villages.
Through iDEAS Dawa Steven wants to be able to offer to mountain communities, especially the youth, new opportunities and help develop new skills that gives them more options than just climbing as a source of income.
People living in their own culture have their own priorities - iDEAS respects their judgment in deciding what they need and what is good for them. A locally initiated project will always have a higher rate of success, especially when they are going to own the project.
The groundwork has been done and a number of projects are ready to start as soon as iDEAS can find technical and funding support. Our inaugural project for 2009 - The Imja Tsho Action Event 2009 has already been completed.